A Partner West Africa News Story
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Volunteer with Partner West Africa and explore Ghana at the weekends

#VolunteerTakeover: Stingless Bees

Date Posted: 05/10/2018

Freya has been chatting about animals found in Ghana over social media this week. Here she looks in more depth at stingless bees which are also found here in Ghana.

Stingless Bees

 

Freya has been chatting about animals found in Ghana over social media this week. Here she looks in more depth at stingless bees which are also found here in Ghana. While volunteers working with us come to do skills based work placements we encourage them to explore Ghana in their weekends and down time. See how you can volunteer with us here and maybe take a trip to find the stingless bees!

 

There are many places in Ghana which are dedicated to wildlife, for instance, Kakum and Mole National parks. However, a somewhat less obvious sanctuary is dedicated to stingless bees, which is some people’s favourite place to visit near Cape Coast! The International Stingless Bee Centre (ISBC) is devoted to stingless bee research, which is used to educate people about their use in improving environmental conservation and food security as well as a place for conserving this rapidly declining type of bee.

These stingless bees belong to the group Apidae, and over 400 different species have been identified, some of which are endemic to Ghana. These bees are eusocial, similar to honey bees, and consist of queens, drones and many workers. The centre was opened to allow for research to be conducted on these interesting insects, as well as training locals to use them for essential purposes such as pollination and crop production. Ongoing investigation is also being carried out as to whether the honey and propolis (a mix of bee wax and spit) produced by these bees can be used as medicines for ailments such as stomach ulcers and eye infections!

Fun Facts!

Contrary to their name, stingless bees do actually possess stingers; however, they are undeveloped and cannot be used in defence. Interestingly, female bees can become either queens or worker bees, as is common to true honey bees, however this is uniquely decided by how much pollen the bee receives at growth, where larger amounts of pollens results in development into a queen. Stingless bee keepers often keep the microenvironment the bees inhabited when procuring them, such as a hollow tree trunk, as it doesn’t upset their highly ordered hives. Stingless bees generally produce less honey than honey bees, and it also tastes a little different, with hints of sweet and sour due to the plant resin used to build their bee hives.

Who knew bees could be so helpful and interesting!

Author: Freya - PWA Volunteer

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